in Stories

MDC paralysed by spate of arrests

In what appeared to be a deliberate and concerted effort to paralyse the Movement for Democratic Change soon after its election victory in March 2008, 10 Members of Parliament and two senators were jailed and formally charged.

Other MDC officials were detained without charge, harassed or pursued on unknown charges.

Here is a list of those who were arrested and charged.

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE622, ZANU-PF TARGETS MDC OFFICIALS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE622

2008-07-21 13:47

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2349

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0622/01 2031347

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 211347Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3195

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2158

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2277

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0809

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1554

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1912

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2333

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4764

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1423

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000622

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF TARGETS MDC OFFICIALS

 

REF: A. HARARE 621

B. HARARE 532

C. HARARE 513

 

Classified By: Charge d’affaires Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4(d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) Even though the Movement for Democratic Change

(MDC) won a majority of seats in the March 29 parliamentary

elections, MDC officials continue to battle trumped-up

charges, evade bogus arrests, and endure harassment at the

hands of the ZANU-PF-run security structures. 10 MDC MPs and

two MDC Senators have been jailed and formally charged with

crimes since March. Other MDC officials have been detained

for days without charge, harassed, or pursued on unknown

charges. This intimidation has disrupted the MDC’s ability

to organize, communicate, campaign, and plan. Should

negotiations fail, it is possible, if not likely, that that

there will be a renewal of arrests and harassment to further

damage the MDC and prevent it from achieving a majority in

the House of Assembly. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————

MPs and Senator facing charges

——————————

 

2. (U) Below is a summary of the ten MDC MPs and two

Senators who have been charged with crimes since the March 29

election. There are no ZANU-PF elected officials facing

charges. Some of these cases were previously reported (Refs

B and C).

 

Naison Nemadziwa, MP-elect from Buhera South

Arrested: June 30, 2008

Charges: Inciting violence. He was arrested at gunpoint by a

group of six armed men, led by an army colonel, who loaded

him into an unmarked truck outside the high court in Mutare.

He was arrested just after winning a court case over the

losing ZANU-PF candidate and war veteran leader, Joseph

Chinotimba, who is believed to have played a significant role

in masterminding the terror campaign in the June 27 runoff.

Released on bail: July 4, 2008

Whereabouts: In hiding

 

John Masaba, Senator-elect from Kariba

Arrested: June 19, 2008

Charges: Inciting political violence. He was arrested as he

traveled towards his rural homestead, transporting relief

items for violence victims and campaign materials for Morgan

Tsvangirai. Police impounded the vehicle.

Released from remand prison: July 10, 2008

 

Shuwa Mudiwa, MP-elect from Mutare West

Arrested: June 18, 2008

Charges: Kidnapping a 13-year-old girl. Police allege he

kidnapped the girl on June 7 and locked her in a house; the

girl escaped and reported it to police. Mudiwa is a former

ZANU-PF member and Central Intelligence Organization (CIO)

operative who defected to the MDC.

Released: Date uncertain

 

Tendai Biti, MP-elect from Harare East and MDC Secretary

General (Ref B)

Arrested: June 5, 2008

Charges: Treason, based on the alleged publication of a

document prejudicial to the State; causing disaffection

within the police force; insulting the President; and

announcing the MDC had won the election before official

results were announced. If found guilty of treason, Biti

 

HARARE 00000622 002 OF 004

 

 

could face the death penalty.

Released on bail: June 26, 2008. No trial date has been set.

 

Eric Matinenga, MP-elect from Buhera West (Ref C)

Arrested: May 31, 2008

Charges: Inciting public violence. In his court hearing on

June 4, the magistrate refused to put him on remand, saying

the State had failed to provide any evidence against him.

She dropped the charges against him.

Released: June 5, 2008

Re-arrested: June 7, 2008

Charges: The same public violence charges that the magistrate

dropped days earlier.

Ordered released: June 9, 2008

Released on June 26. His case has been remanded until August

18.

 

Amos Chibaya, MP-elect from Gweru (Ref C)

Detained and Released May 21, 2008

Charges: “Undermining public confidence in the police force”

for comments he made at a rally about police officers having

voted for MDC.

 

Iain Kay, MP-elect from Marondera Central (Ref C)

Arrested: May 20, 2008

Charges: Inciting violence. Kay is accused of masterminding

violence in Mashonaland East. He was held for more than 48

hours before being formally charged. When he did appear in

court, the State appealed bail, which was eventually granted.

Released on bail: June 2, 2008. No trial date has been set.

 

Heya Shoko, MP-elect from Bikita West (Ref C)

Arrested: May 12, 2008

Charges: Public violence. He is accused of involvement in

violence and arson.

Released: May 14, 2008. No trial date has been set.

 

Misheck Shoko, MP-elect from Chitungwiza South (Ref C)

Arrested: May 12, 2008

Charges: Inciting violence. Accused of planning to raid a

ZANU-PF youth militia base in Seke.

Whereabouts: In jail. No trial date has been set.

 

Trevor Saruwaka, MP-elect from Mutasa Central (Ref C)

Arrested: May 11, 2008

Charges: Inciting violence. Saruwaka had gone to the

Penhalonga Police Station to look for an MDC youth abducted

by war veterans. He was ordered arrested at the police

station.

Awarded bail: May 14, 2008

Released from jail: May 20, 2008. No trial date has been set.

 

Norman Mpofu, MP-elect from Bulilima East and

Lutho Tapela, Senator-elect from Bulilima-Mangwe (Ref C)

Detained: May 24, 2008

Charges: Holding an illegal meeting in Plumtree with two

local activists.

Released: May 27, 2008

 

———————–

MPs held without charge

———————–

 

3. (U) In addition to the MPs that face charges, four MPs

and one Senator were held in jail without charge and later

released:

 

Contin Muguti, MP-elect from Gokwe.

Muguti was abducted from his home by men in army uniforms.

He was held for three weeks and severely beaten. After he

was beaten, he was dumped in a police cell and denied medical

treatment for more than a week. He was finally released on

 

HARARE 00000622 003 OF 004

 

 

July 10.

 

Mayemureyi Munhuru, Senator-elect from Chimanimani.

Abducted with her husband from their home at gunpoint on June

24. No charges were filed, and both were later released

unharmed.

 

Abednico Bhebhe, MP-elect from Nyaki and Robert Rabson,

Senator-elect from Nyaki.

Detained: June 18, 2008

Released: June 27, 2008

They were detained when police impounded the vehicle Bhebhe

was driving. The police later claimed he had violated

Zimbabwean law by driving a vehicle (that belongs to his

cousin) without the owner’s permission. Despite two court

orders demanding that police release the vehicle, they

continue to hold the car. On July 16, Bhebhe filed contempt

of court charges against the police for refusing to comply

with the court orders.

 

Patrick Sibanda, MP-elect from Binga North.

Detained: June 18, 2008 for having a weapon (an ax) in his

vehicle.

 

Takalani Prince Matibe, MP-elect from Chegutu West.

Detained: June 12, 2008 shortly after hosting MDC President

Morgan Tsvangirai at his home.

 

————————

MPs on the “wanted list”

————————

 

4. (SBU) At least ten MPs were in hiding, based on warrants

for their arrest or warnings that they were on wanted lists.

In light of the MOU to be signed between ZANU-PF and the MDC

for negotiations, we believe police are no longer pursuing

these individuals:

 

Pearson Mungova, MP-elect from Highfield East.

Charges: Causing discontent among state security officers.

 

Elton Mangoma, MP-elect from Makoni North.

Charges: Inciting political violence.

On July 10, 2008, he was allowed to leave Zimbabwe to

participate in talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF in South

Africa, where he is one of the MDC’s negotiators.

 

Elijah Jembere, MP-elect from Epworth.

Charges: Rape. The charges were initially thrown out by a

Harare court, but the Zimbabwean Government appealed and put

him on a wanted list on the same charges.

 

Edmore Marima, MP-elect from Bikita East.

Charges: Attempted murder and inciting public violence.

 

Mathias Mlambo, MP-elect from Chipinge East.

Charges: Inciting public violence.

 

Broadwin Nyunde, MP-elect from Bindura South.

Charges: Inciting political violence.

 

Pineal Denga, MP-elect from Mbare.

Charges: Inciting political violence. His home and office

have been raided repeatedly.

 

Thabitha Khumalo, MP-elect from Bulawayo East.

Charges: Unknown.

 

Shepherd Mushonga, MP-elect from Mazowe Central.

Charges: Inciting political violence. He is wanted in

connection with clashes in Chaona in May that left 13 people

dead. On July 4, The Herald, the government mouthpiece,

 

HARARE 00000622 004 OF 004

 

 

warned that Mushonga is armed and dangerous and also “wanted

in connection with several other cases of political violence.”

 

Joel Gabuzza, MP-elect from Binga South.

Charges: Unknown. He is in hiding after friendly police

warned him they’d been ordered to pick him up.

 

———————————————

MPs face other forms of harassment, violence

———————————————

 

5. (U) In addition, some MPs and their families have been

attacked, beaten, or harassed. They include:

 

Festus Dumbu, MP-elect from Zaka West.

The whereabouts of five members of Dumbu’s family are unknown

after they were abducted by ZANU-PF militants at the end of

June.

 

Harrison Mudzuri, MP-elect from Zaka Central.

Mudzuri’s father’s homestead was attacked by 10 people in

army uniforms, some were armed. One of his relatives was

shot three times during the attack.

 

Marvellous Khumalo, MP-elect from St Mary’s.

Her home was petrol bombed.

 

Nelson Chamisa, MDC Spokesman.

Armed soldiers attacked and severely beat Chamisa’s parents,

78-year-old grandmother, and younger brother for two hours at

their rural home in Chiwara, Gutu South on May 31.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) Of the 110 MDC MPs (including both factions), almost

one quarter have since the March 29 elections been arrested

and charged, detained and released without charge, or placed

on an arrest list and gone into hiding. Numerous other local

MDC officials have been similarly targeted. The effect has

been to seriously damage the MDC’s organization and ability

to function, and to intimidate local communities that

supported these MDC MPs and officials. Another ZANU-PF

objective may be, by attrition, to prevent the MDC from

constituting a parliamentary majority when the House of

Assembly is convened and, as a majority, electing the

powerful House Speaker. A combined MDC would need 106 votes

to achieve a majority. The MOU (Ref A) calls for a delay in

convening Parliament while negotiations are ongoing and there

has been a recent let up in the arrest and harassment of MDC

officials. Should negotiations fail, it is possible, if not

likely, that that there will be a renewal of arrests and

harassment to further damage the MDC and prevent it from

achieving a majority in the House of Assembly.   END COMMENT.

 

Dhanani

(12 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment